A TOWN centre multiplex cinema could be back on the cards after councillors agreed to release North Street Car Park for development.
The decision was taken behind closed doors by members of Scarborough Council’s Cabinet after the public were excluded from a meeting last month.
But this week minutes posted on the council’s website have revealed that plans for development would be welcomed as long as developers promised to provide an equivalent number of town centre parking spaces to any which were lost under submitted proposals.
Cabinet member Cllr Andrew Backhouse said it was important not to “dilute” the number of town centre parking spaces while at the same time taking the opportunity to provide much needed leisure facilities.
He said: “They should provide lost car parking spaces within the development or somewhere near the facility.
“The principle for releasing it for development has been approved – it’s the principle not the actual development.”
He added that the land had already been the subject of a previous planning application. He said: “It’s well-known in the public domain that North Street Development put forward some outline proposals for a hotel and retail space for the area.”
The previous plan for a £70 million scheme had included details for a proposed multi-screen cinema – which included five cinemas which could seat a total of 600 people – as well as an 80-bedroom hotel, restaurants and shops on the North Street Car Park site.
According to the minutes cabinet members considered a joint report by David Archer, the council’s strategic director, the head of finance and asset management and the head of legal and support, before agreeing to release the car park for redevelopment with the extra car parking capacity provided at no extra cost to the council.
It was also recommended North Street Development – headed by Opera House Casino owners, Nikolas and Becky Shaw, Scarborough developer Ken Ferrie – be allowed to submit a revised plan which addressed the parking issue.
The reasons given for the decision included the need to expand and develop the town centre and it would preserve the level of town centre parking.
Cllr Backhouse said that rejuvenation of the town centre was important. He added: “The public have been telling us for years that we need retail and leisure in the town centre. That may include – though not as a given – a multiplex cinema.
“North Street is one of our biggest town centre car parks. If we dilute that, and it becomes a 50 space car park, where would we go?”
According to the minutes members of the public and press were excluded from the original discussion because it was likely that “exempt information relating to the financial affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)”.